Big XII Still Licking Its Big Dance Wounds
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While First Round Friday got a little better for the Big XII Conference in the NCAA tournament, it'll take a long time to get over the mess that happened on Thursday.
- Iowa State, 25-9 and picked by many to get to at least the Elite Eight, was upset by UAB, 60-59.
- Baylor, 24-10 and another team with at least Elite Eight expectations, lost to Georgia State -- not Georgia or Georgia Tech -- but Georgia State, 57-56.
- So, when Texas pulled their usual early exit from the tournament with a loss to Butler, the Big XII honchos went to bed hoping for a better Friday.
Yes, there weren't too many ways things could go worse, but the possibility always exists.
Things did improve, but looking ahead, conference fortunes could go sour again this coming weekend.
... and now, the Mountaineers will play Kentucky in the third round. But they don't mind.
Oklahoma, who many said didn't deserve a high seed, struggled against Albany but dropped the most home-standing 11-seed the Dance has ever seen when they outlasted Dayton. They now get March stalwart Michigan State in Syracuse.
Kansas, the best team in the conference when healthy, advanced with an easy win over New Mexico State but ran into a Wichita State club that's been waiting decades to tweak their more illustrious in-state brethren. It was clear from the start that the Shockers weren't gonna be denied. And they weren't.
Then there was Oklahoma State, uneven all year at 18-14 and under .500 in league play, losing to Oregon, 79-73. Travis Ford has never made it past the first weekend of the tournament as a coach, and he's square on the hot seat along with Longhorns coach Rick Barnes.
Many called the BigXII the best hoops conference in America all season. But frankly, they're fortunate to have two teams in the Sweet Sixteen.